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Board of Trustees of Automobile Mechanics' Local No. 701 Union and Industry Pension Fund v. Joyce Ford, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

September 4, 2014

BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE AUTOMOBILE MECHANICS' LOCAL NO. 701 UNION AND INDUSTRY PENSION FUND, Plaintiff,
v.
JOYCE FORD, INC., an Illinois corporation; COUNTY MAYO CORPORATION, an Illinois corporation; NEPHIN INVESTMENTS, L.P., an Illinois limited partnership; JOBRIT, LLC, an Illinois limited liability company; and 2401 SO. MICHIGAN BUILDING CORPORATION, an Illinois corporation, Defendants

For Board of Trustees of The Automobile Mechanics' Local No. 701 Union And Industry Pension Fund, Plaintiff: Joseph Edward Mallon, LEAD ATTORNEY, Dennis R. Johnson, Jessica Leigh Adelman, William P. Callinan, Jeffrey Allen Krol, Johnson & Krol, LLC, Chicago, IL USA.

For Joyce Ford, Inc., an Illinois Corporation, County Mayo Corporation, an Illinois Corporation, Nephin Investments, L.P., an Illinois Limited Partnership, Jorbit, LLC, an Illinois Limited Liability Company, 2401 So. Michigan Building Corporation, an Illinois Corporation, Defendants: Mark M. Lyman, LEAD ATTORNEY, Steven M Varhola, Lyman Law Firm, Chicago, IL USA.

Page 1104

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

JOAN B. GOTTSCHALL, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Board of Trustees of the Automobile Mechanics' Local No. 701 Union and Industry Pension Fund filed this action under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), as amended by the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendment Acts of 1980 (MPPAA). The Fund seeks to collect withdrawal liability incurred as a result of the withdrawal from the Fund by defendant Joyce Ford, Inc. The Fund alleges that defendants County Mayo Corporation; Nephin Investments, L.P.; Jobrit, LLC; and 2401 So. Michigan Building (2401) (collectively, the Additional Defendants) are jointly and severally liable for Joyce Ford's alleged withdrawal liability because they are trades or businesses in common control with Joyce Ford. See 29 U.S.C. § 1301(b)(1).

The Additional Defendants moved to dismiss the suit for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. They argued that the Fund's allegations were insufficient to show common control between Joyce Ford and the Additional Defendants. The court denied the motion, holding that the amended complaint's allegations are sufficient to state a claim of

Page 1105

common-control withdrawal liability against the Additional Defendants.

Now before the court is the Fund's motion for summary judgment against Joyce Ford and 2401. For the reasons discussed below, the motion is granted.

I. Background Facts

In conjunction with its motion for summary judgment, the Fund filed a statement of facts as required by Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1(a)(3). Joyce Ford and 2401 filed a separate statement of facts along with their response to the motion for summary judgment, but did not directly address the Fund's statement of facts. ( See Defs.' Stmt. of Uncontested Facts, ECF No. 55.)

This court's local rules require parties opposing summary judgment to file " a concise response to the movant's statement [of material facts]. . . . All materials set forth in the statement required of the moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing party." N.D. Ill. L.R. 56.1(b)(3). Because the defendants have not disputed the facts in the Fund's statement, " the court deems those facts admitted, and the facts that follow are taken primarily from the plaintiff['s] statement." Bd. of Trustees of the Auto. Mechs.' Local No. 701 Union & Indus. Welfare Fund v. Beland & Wiegers Enters., No. 13 CV 1611, 2014 WL 4175780, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 21, 2014). " Nevertheless, the court must still construe those facts in the light most favorable to the defendants as well as draw all reasonable inferences in their favor." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).

Joyce Ford entered into a new collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Automobile Mechanics' Local Union No. 701 in May 2010. Joyce Ford executed a participation agreement in which it agreed to be bound by the provisions of the Agreement and Declaration of Trust (Trust Agreement) which created the Fund. Pursuant to the provisions of the CBA and the Trust Agreement, Joyce was required to make monthly reports of the number of weeks worked by covered employees and pay contributions to the Fund for each week that a covered employee performs any work at the negotiated rate set forth in the CBA. In April 2012, Joyce ceased its operations and stopped making contributions to the Fund.

On June 5, 2012, the Fund's counsel sent Joyce Ford a notice and demand for payment of withdrawal liability of $281,184. The notice and demand for payment contained a payment schedule in accordance with 29 U.S.C. ยง 1399. Under the schedule, Joyce Ford was to make 41 quarterly payments of $9,282 each, followed by a final payment of $5,600.05 ...


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